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Document published on 17 October 2017
VCOSS members work with vulnerable Victorians in many different types of services. Work in community services requires trust between practitioner and client. In some professions confidentiality is at the core of practice and helps build a positive working relationship.
Organisations work hard to protect the privacy and confidentiality of people they work with, especially those experiencing violence, alcohol and other drug issues, mental illness, or interacting with the justice system. In these contexts, confidentiality is an essential component of the therapeutic relationship.
However, confidentiality that puts safety at risk can’t be supported in law or practice. Although it has been lawful for some time to share information where people’s safety is at risk, practitioners have had to grapple with existing practice, complex and confusing legislative schemes, guidelines and memoranda of understanding.